Cletus Nelson & Phil Swanson

Cletus Nelson (left) provides Phil Swanson (right) with an updated financial report on the Memorial Homes project. Mr. Nelson was one of the original incorporating members of the Memorial Homes project, and Mr. Swanson was an early financial contributor. This photo is circa 1952.

In the early 1940s, residents of Phelps County, and the surrounding area, recognized the increasing need to establish a residence for their older citizens.  In 1944, at a meeting of the Holdrege Real Estate Board, a motion was made to promote the development of a fund to build a home specifically for senior citizens.  The motion carried by unanimous vote, and the first contribution to the project was received on December 30, 1946.

The project was named Memorial Homes, and in 1947, the first organizational meeting for the new project was held.  Incorporating members of Memorial Homes were Roy Magill, Cletus Nelson, J.W. Nelson, L.A. Franzen, Robert Best, and F.A. Jacobson.  Each man signed a $500.00 lifetime membership.  For the next several years, citizens worked diligently to secure the funding to make Memorial Homes a reality.  Finally, in September 1953, Memorial Homes opened its' doors for business, with the ability to house 34 residents.  The first resident admitted on September 9 was Mrs. Effie Roose from Trenton, NE followed by Mr. & Mrs. Henry Bergstrom of Holdrege.  By Christmas 1953, 25 individuals had moved into Memorial Homes.

After three years, the demand for rooms became so great that an additions was needed, however, a larger project was more than the community of Holdrege was able to assume.  An offer-agreement was tendered to the Nebraska Annual Conference of the Methodist Church to assume ownership and management of Memorial Homes.  The conference accepted the offer-agreement in June 1956.  Included in this agreement was the understanding that the Methodists would build the new 81-bed addition.  On October 11, 1964, the addition was consecrated at a special service and open house.  Memorial Homes was renamed Methodist Memorial Homes.  At the time, the average census was 100 people.

Original Building

The original Memorial Homes building as it appeared in 1957.

In the following years, Methodist Memorial Homes added two more additions at the present site, and constructed condominiums at the former Roosevelt Elementary School site as a result of a gift from the Edward and Annie Erlandson estate.  The first 59-bed addition at the present location was built with a bequest from the Melvin and Selma Anderson estate and opened July 1974.  Another generous estate gift from Miss Avis G. Hulquist was used to construct a 60-bed skilled nursing unit that opened in June 1991.

In 1989, the Methodist Memorial Homes Foundation was created to inspire, receive and administer benevolent gifts to ensure financial support for the continued growth of Methodist Memorial Homes and its' mission of providing quality care in a Christian environment.  In February of 2001, Methodist Memorial Homes was renamed Holdrege Memorial Homes to reflect the multi-denominational population of the facility.

In the past several years, Holdrege Memorial Homes has added a Chapel/Community Rom, Converted the 3rd floor into private skilled nursing rooms, added a wellness and rehabilitation area, added a new library complete with multi-media resources, remodeled and expanded the in-house beauty shop, and improved and upgraded the North Entrance.  In keeping with it's visionary mission, Holdrege Memorial Homes renovated the South Dining Rooms, Nurses Station, and the Assisted Living Activity Room Kitchenette.  2020 will see a renovation of the south Resident Lounge.  Additionally, the Franklin School Property on 11th Avenue was purchased in 2015 and a committee has been working on a development plan for that property

As of today, Holdrege Memorial Homes has housed 2385 residents from 21 different states with referrals being made by over 50 medical providers.  Holdrege Memorial Homes is the only five-star facility in our area, and we are proud to provide all private rooms to our residents regardless of payer source.  Both Holdrege Memorial Homes and the Holdrege Memorial Homes Foundation are 501(c)3 non-profit organizations committed to providing the highest quality of care for our residents now and into the future.